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Tips for Preparing for a Successful Interview

You’ve worked long and hard to get an interview and you only have limited time to tell your story and make an impression. As a job seeker, we often don’t think about the position of the interviewer. He or she has probably read through dozens of resumes, conducted multiple phone screenings and could be interviewing 5-10 people. It is a major investment in time and energy. Here are some tips for preparing for your 30 minutes in the hot seat…

  1. Know Yourself: Be clear about what you’re targeting. This does not mean you only have one job or one position in mind, it means that you have a strong sense of the direction that you want to take your career and you have targeted appropriately. If you haven’t already developed your elevator pitch, now is the time.
  2. Sell Yourself.  Be clear about what you can do for the company in which you are interviewing. It’s not about “me, me, me I can do anything” – that will make you sound unsophisticated.  The main point is the company, the position and the value you can bring. In order to position yourself successfully, see #3…
  3. Study the Company. There is nothing fun or sexy about this – its serious work. And there is no excuse not to do it because there is so much information on company websites. Look at their resource center and press releases. This is where companies talk about what is important to them. Also take a little time to learn the industry and identify what their competitors might be doing differently.
  4. Use Your Nerves. Everyone is nervous in an interview but the fact is most interviewers want to put you at ease so you can have a substantive conversation. A little bit of nerves means you’re interested and engaged so think of it as a positive force.
  5. Follow-up. Even though you shook hands and left the building, the interview is not over until you write the “Thank You” note. Handwritten or email, you ask? A Handwritten note is considered more thoughtful, but an email is more immediate. Your choice, just be sure to DO IT!

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